Back in high school I remember when it seemed that everyone in the frum community was coming down on expensive weddings, pesach vacations and summer camps. The classic liberal slogan of “how can we spend so much on this, when so many people don’t have what to eat…” was being spewed on a weekly basis by those writing into the Yated and Jewish Press about the ills of our community. It seems that the practice of blaming others for our inability to brush off peer pressure is alive an well in the frum community. I thought the only people we were supposed to blame for our ills were the gays and liberals.
I am writing in regard to the ‘mishloach manos syndrome,’ the extravagance and pressure that has gotten out of hand. Priorities are misplaced, while spouses and children suffer due to Mommy’s sleepless nights and egoistic drive to evoke the coveted ‘Wow!’ reaction from relatives and friends.
It is a sad scenario of a mitzvah taken out of proportion and to a wrong extreme. Wrong motive, wrong action, wrong outcome.
Once we’re at it, let me mention that people should realize that the Kiddush at their next son’s bar mitzvah doesn’t have to cost $10,000 so that people talk about it for months after. My mishloach manos doesn’t have to dazzle the 250 people on our “list.”
To be honest with you, I’ve never really been a big fan of mishloach manos themes. I’m from those who always said that our theme is “mishloach manos.”
What about Purim costumes? Why should we be embarrassed to have less money to spend on costumes, especially those of us whose husbands are learning or earning a typical rebbi’s salary? Do we need the costumes to go along with the theme of the mishloach manos?
How about the person whose children dressed up as the Three Blind Mice? They were going to give out Mickey Mouse lollypops, cheese, and runny chocolate chip cookies. The last idea was going to be a little more complicated and slightly corny: “See how they run.”
Have we lost our minds?
And what if, chas veshalom, your youngest daughter doesn’t want to dress up as a blind mouse, but as Queen Esther?
Hashem help us.
Confused in Flatbush